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Buddy's Diner

Would you like to create a custom edition of this story with two of your favorite children playing the parts of Buddy's friends? Click here to personalize this little storybook.

Buddy's Diner

A Backyard Birding Adventure

by Carolyn Allen

Chapter 1

The Birthday Party

"Happy Birthday!" everybody called cheerfully. Buddy smiled and laughed and giggled and jumped up and down. This was the best birthday party ever!

Buddy looked at the table of wrapping paper and boxes and dirty cake plates and giggled some more. He and his friends and brother and sister and mom and dad and grandmother had played games and danced to music and sung songs and made great big bubbles and laughed and laughed. What a day!

There is one special present that Buddy can hardly wait to try out. You see, Buddy has been spending afternoons with his grandmother lately and she has given him a very special birthday present. It is a beautiful wooden bird feeder.

Buddy lives in small house with a big back yard. At least it seems like a big back yard to Buddy. There are trees and flowers and just outside the fence there is a little stream with trees and bushes and lots of rocks. Buddy loves to hide behind a favorite treetrunk and watch the little birds jump from branch to branch to bush to a rock by the stream. He loves to see what they eat, what they drink, and how they talk to their friends. And then to see several birds get together and sing their little hearts out...just like he and his friends did at today's party.

Yes, Buddy can hardly wait to hang up his very own bird feeder so that he can feed birds just like his grandmother does. Every morning and every afternoon she puts feed in her bird feeder and water in the bird bath, and then she sits on her porch and chuckles and oohs and aahs as each new bird joins her long time friends at her backyard birding station.

Buddy helped his grandmother put up her bird feeder, and now he is eager to put up his own. He is silently planning what to do as he plays with his friends. And as he eats his birthday cake. And as he blows bubbles. And as he says thank you, and goodbye to his friends as they go home with their parents.

Buddy is tired, but he is so eager and so happy that he begs his mother and father to help him, "Please help me put up my new bird feeder. I can't wait to see which bird will come first. What a great birthday! And I want to share the fun with my birds."

"But Buddy, aren't you tired after all this fun?" his mother asks.

"No...I'm not tired. I want to put up my bird feeder. I've waited for my own birdfeeder for a long long long time...and if I don't put it up today, my bird firends won't be able to celebrate my birthday with me. Please Mom, please. Daddy, please help me, please, please, please!" Buddy was jumping up and down by this time.

With a twinkle in his eye, Dad finally agreed. "Well, if your birds don't get to celebrate your birthday they will miss out on a very special day! Let's do it! Can you get the hammer from the workshop table? I'll go get a bowl for water, and Mom, why don't you bring the bird feeder out to the backyard and help find a good place for it. Grandma, will you help Buddy get the tools...and you might bring some of that Sunflower Seed from the garage, too."

Chapter 2

Installing the Birding Station

Buddy was pulling on Grandma's hand because he was in such a hurry. "Buddy, Buddy, Buddy...I had no idea you were this excited about feeding the birds," said Grandma as she hurried along with Buddy. "These are MY birds, Grandma! I've been watching them and I want to see which one will come to my feeder first."

"That's a good idea, Buddy. Are you going to keep a Backyard Log Book to list all the birds that come to your new feeder?"

"Oh, yes, Grandma, just like you do!" Buddy remembered seeing the log book in the package with his new feeder.

"What do you like so much about birds, Buddy?" Grandma asked.

"I like the way they can fly. And I like to hear them sing. I'm learning how to sing with them, Grandma...just like this: chir, chir, chirrp," Buddy stopped and pursed his lips and made soft clicking sounds with his tongue and lips.

"That's very good, Wow, I didn't know you could make bird calls. I'm impressed." Grandma smiled from ear to ear.

"Here is the hammer, and here is the Sunflower seed."

"Well, let's go, then. Your mother and father are in the yard already."

Buddy and Grandma picked up their supplies and hurried out the door. Dad magically took a pole out of hiding and held it in place under a big oak tree. "How's this for a good location?"

Mom frowned, "I don't think the birds have enough small branches near the feeder to use when they come to eat. How about over here by this bush?"

Grandma asked Buddy what he thought, "I agree with Mom," he said seriously. "Birds need cover bushes close by. We can put the bird bath near the bush on the other side, too. That way they can eat, drink and take a bath right here. And I can see them from the deck!"

"That's a good plan, Buddy. How about right here?" Grandma pointed to a nice soft spot in the yard, and there are a lot of places for the birds to hop onto, as well."

"I agree. Are we ready to put up the pole? Check the instruction sheet." Buddy took the instruction sheet out of the package and opened it up to the instructions for the pole.

"It says, 'Tools needed: hammer, screwdriver, pencil and measuring tape.' Oops, we didn't get all the tools we need.

"I guess we should have read all the instructions before we started working. I forgot to ask you to do that, Do we have all the tools we need?" Dad asked with a puzzled frown.

"No, Daddy, but I'll go get them." Buddy took off like a bird...his feet almost not touching the ground. Almost flying, you could say!

Step One: Take the two sections of the pole apart.

Step Two: Unscrew the wood block from the mounting plate on the upper section of the pole. Center the mounting plate on the floor of the feeder base. Attach the pole to the base using the screws that held the protective wood block in place."

Buddy was back with the screwdriver, pencil and measuring tape in a flash. "Alright, Buddy, the pole is in two parts, and here is the wood block it says to take off the top pole. Loosen this screw and take it out of this block of wood. And then we'll mark the center of the floor ... hold the pole right in the middle of the floor of the feeder...and you can screw it on."

"Okay, Dad, here it goes." Buddy held his tongue and lips just right and gripped the screwdriver as his Dad held the pole tightly against the deck step. The screw was loose...then it fell off onto the step.

"Done!" He said with pride, and helped Dad lift his new birdfeeder onto the step while Dad positioned the pole onto the bottom of the floor. They used a couple bricks to hold the pole up at the right height. "Okay, now screw the pole onto the feeder floor."

Buddy puckered his lips again and turned screwdriver really hard and really carefully. He grunted a couple times. He shifted from one knee to the other. He turned the screwdriver, and turned it and turned it...and finally it was tight! "That's done," he said excitedly. "Can I put it up now?"

"Well, let's check the instructions again. What do they say?" Dad asked gently.

Step Three: Measure one foot from the bottom of the lower section of the pole. This will be the amount of pole you will hammer into the soil (or put in concrete, if you need to secure it in unstable soil). Mark this measurement with a pencil.

Dad listened as Buddy read the instructions. " foot, that's 12 inches. Can you take your pencil and make a mark at the one-foot mark on the pole so we know just how far to hammer it?"

Step Four: Use the block of wood to protect the top edge of the bottom pole when you hammer it into the soil.

Step Five: Hold the bottom pole in place and hammer gently on the wood block until the measurement mark is at ground level.

"Okay, here we go. Buddy, can you hold the pole while I get it started?

Buddy and Dad carefully held the pole in place. After Dad almost missed the pole one time, Buddy decided he should hold onto the pole a little lower so his hands wouldn't get hurt by the hammer. Dad thought this was a smart idea!

Dad hammered it slowly and gently for a couple inches, then gave the hammer to Buddy to take a turn. Dad held the pole down low, too! They chuckled when Buddy's first attempt missed the pole... and were glad they thought of safety.

"That's great. The base pole is now in. Let's attach the top half of the pole to this bottom section next.

Step Six: Reassemble the parts of the pole, being careful to align the feeder in the direction you want it to be viewed. Put the thumbscrew back on the top section and slide this section carefully into the bottom pole. Raise or lower the top section of the pole to a height that is convenient for working with the feeder.Tighten the thumbscrew that holds the two sections together.

"Your birdfeeder is ready to put up. Buddy, I'll hold the feeder so you can slide the two sections of the pole together. Let it slide easily into the base. That's right. Now we will tighten the thumbscrew so it stands up just as high as you want it. How high do you want the feeder so you can reach it and fill it with seed? About as tall as your head? That should work.

Okay.... here it is. ! Now for the seed...Wallllaaaa....Buddy's Diner is officially open for business. Next we will put out the water dish, and Buddy's little friends can come to the feast!

Mom and Grandma had gone to the house and found a nice flat bowl for a watering dish. They even brought a jar of water with them, and when Dad and Buddy finished, they had the water dish ready for Buddy to put in position.

Everyone gathered around the feeder as Buddy added a big helping of Sunflower seeds to the new feeder. What fun!

Chapter 3

Sharing the Joy with Friends

That weekend, Sarah and Jerry came over to visit Buddy. He had told them about his new feeder and about the new birds that had come to visit, and they wanted to see those birds for themselves! "Okay, let's sit here quietly, and the birds will come. But we have to be quiet and hold still, or we will scare them away."

The three became very still. They watched intently. One bright red cardinal hopped close, but saw Sarah move, and fluttered back into the tree. "Shhhh, be still," cautioned Buddy. Sarah looked embarrassed that she had moved.

"That's okay, the birds will get used to us soon. It took me a while to learn to sit still until the birds got used to me," he explained to Sarah.

Sarah nodded a little and settled back against the deck steps. Soon the wren came back, then a finch, then another finch. But they wouldn't all eat off the bird feeder at one time. They jumped at each other as two of them landed on the feeder.

"Why are they doing that," Sarah whispered, "Why don't they just share?"

Buddy explained that birds are very competitive. "Birds are afraid they will lose their part of the food, and they have to eat so much every day that they forget their manners and try to fight to get what they want. Grandma says that birds eat as much food as they weigh--every day!"

Sarah nodded and kept watching.

Soon a Blue Jay came to the feeder and all the little birds flew away into the big tree. The Blue Jay is a medium size bird...but probably seems like a very big bird to little songbirds. It sat on the feeder and ate mouthful after mouthful after mouthful.

"I like the little birds better," whispered Sarah.

"I like the Blue Jay," said Jerry.

"I like them both, but the Blue Jay is pretty mean sometimes. He is a predator of the little birds. He chases them, and sometimes he will eat little bird's least that is what my bird book says." Buddy explained.

"You have a bird book? I want to see it. Can we find pictures of all the birds we see in it? I don't know what to call the little gray birds. Can we look them up? Do you know how?" Jerry was getting interested. "Sure, we can find their pictures in the book. It is called a 'field guide.' I bought it with my birthday money," Buddy said proudly.

Chapter 4

Discovering More About Birds

Buddy quietly stood up...and the birds flew away. "That's all right, they'll be back" he told Sarah and Jerry confidently.

He went to his room and brought out his Backyard Birding List and the Peterson Field Guide. "This is my Backyard Birding List. I write down every bird I see, the date I see it, and some notes about what it does, like what kind of food it eats, I've seen 15 different kinds of birds already since my birthday. Isn't that neat?"

Sarah and Jerry study his Backyard List Book. "I know that bird...and I've seen something that was probably a hawk once. It was in the ditch of a country road. I think it was eating something it had caught." Jerry kept turning pages looking for that little gray bird they couldn't name. "Why do you like birds so much, Buddy?" Sarah asked.

"I like everything about them!" Buddy said. "They sing pretty songs. They have beautiful feathers. I love the colors. And I love the way they fly. Did you know every kind of bird flies in a different way. Some people tell birds apart by how they fly. I want to learn to do that!"

"I want to know how they build nests," Sarah said.

"And I want to know what they eat," chimed in Jerry.

"Okay, let's learn about it together. Let's call my Grandma and see if she will take us to a good birding site and tell us more about birds." Buddy offered.

"That sounds like fun. Let me tell my Mom about what you are doing and maybe I can get a bird house..." Sarah added.

"And I want to get a bird feeder and learn what kinds of food will attract Blue Birds. I love Blue Birds...I saw them one time at my Uncle Joe's and they are really friendly birds. They would eat out of a dish right on the deck. And with me right there! That was really great. I wanted to reach right out and touch them, but they wouldn't quite let me do that."

Buddy, Sarah and Jerry read in the bird book for a long time and learned about different kinds of birds, how to tell which birds live in their state, and a little about what some birds eat. And then it was time to go home. But Sarah and Jerry had caught bird fever! They would never be able to look at a tree the same way again...they would have to pause and hunt for the birds hiding in its shady leaves!

Ah, the fun to come!

For more articles about NATURE & KIDS

Young Birders Get Serious About Birding Fun
The Squirrel Family 0 Backyard Nature Safari
Hamsters are rodents and cuddly pets
Kids Learning Links
Buddy's Diner (for the birds)
Bird Profiles for Young Naturalists